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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Civil War Reenactment at the Village in Spring Mill State Park - Brings the Battle to Life

MITCHELL - FEBRUARY 20, 2023 - This weekend the Spring Mill State Park hosted a Civil War Reenactment that brought that period of time to life.

" I have been researching meticulously for about ten years, so I can correctly educate and represent the past of State of Indiana to the public. I believe without a proper grasp of the struggles of our ancestors have gone through. It is hard to understand and relate those to today," said Isaac Kebortz one the soldiers on Sunday/s reenactments.

Photo: Isaac Kebortz helps reenacts the Civil War at Spring Mill State Park on Sunday

" I think people shouldn't be quick to judge reenactors, and they should come to an event and see what it really is all about," added Kebortz.

Many traveled to Spring Mill both on Saturday and Sunday to see the battle and take in the sites and sounds of what the Civil War really looked like.

Scott Wheeler attended his very first Civil Reenactment on Sunday.

" This is our favorite State Park for our family, we knew the Inn was being renovated, and could not stay there. But, I wanted to come up and enjoy the park, on such a beautiful day and see this battle," said Scott Wheeler, Evansville, Indiana.

" I have gone to several battlefield sites in Kentucky and Tennessee, which include Shiloh, Perryville, KY and Stones River, TN.," said Wheeler. " I had two great-great grandfathers one who fought for the Confederacy; and was captured at Fr. Donaldson and took part in the Morgan Raids in Indiana.

" Then, my other great-great grandfather was for the Union who was a waggoner, in one of the Indiana Divisions. A waggoner carrying the supplies for the troops,"

" You can tell these reenactors are very serious, in putting on a realistic feel to these events today," said Wheeler.

Indiana was a part of the Civil War in the Morgan Raid of 1863.

During the Civil War Confederate General John Hunt Morgan (1825-1864) led a raid through Southern Indiana on July 13, 1863.

Morgan crossing the Ohio River at Brandenburg Kentucky on two commandeered steamboats with over 2,000 cavalrymen and entered near Mauckport.

Following a battle at Corydon they traveled to Salem.

Morgan's soldiers traveled east to Vienna, Indiana on July 10, burning a railroad bridge and depot and tapped into a telegraph line.

Morgan and his troops continued east into Ohio, where they were eventually captured in eastern Ohio.

Indiana played a important role in supporting the Union during the American Civil War. This was despite the anti war activity within the state, and southern Indiana's ancestral ties to the south.

Indiana had 210,000 Union soldiers, sailors serving in 308 military engagements during the Civil War. The majority of those engagements being between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains.

More than 25,028 Indiana war -related deaths which 7,243 from battle and 17,785 from disease.

Indiana State government provided funds to purchase equipment, food, and supplies for the troops in the battle.

Indiana an agricultural rich state contained the fifth highest population in the Union. Indiana playing the critical role and success to the North, due to its geography location, large population, and agricultural production.

Indiana supplies the Union with manpower for the war effort, a railroad network and access to the Ohio River and Great Lakes.

In Indiana there were two raids by the Confederate forces which included the Morgan Raid of 1863 as mentioned above.

In Indiana there were great strife and debates about the Civil War. With the debates centering on the issues of slavery, and emancipation, military service for African Americans and the draft ensued.

In 1863, after the state legislature failed to pass a budget and the state without the authority to collect taxes. Governor Oliver P. Morgan suppressed the Democratic controlled state legislature.

Morgan acted outside his constitutional authority to secure funding through federal and private loans to operate the state government and avert a financial crisis.

The Civil War altered society, politics, and economy with the population shift to central Indiana and northern Indiana and decline to the decline in southern part of Indiana.

The wartime manufacturing led to industrial growth in the Indiana towns and cities with new economic prosperity. Indiana becoming a less rural state, and leaving the state split between political parties for several decades. Indiana being a swing state from 1868- 1916 in which five politicians were vice-presidential nominees.

Benjamin Franklin in 1888 one the Indiana's former Civil War generals, was elected President of the United States.

Indiana was one of the very first states to mobilize for the Civil War. When the news of the attack of Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

The following day, there were two meetings held in Indianapolis the state capital of Indiana and decided that Indiana would remain in the Union.

On April 15th, Governor Morgan called for volunteer soldiers to meet the quota set by Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to join the Union Army. On the same day, Governor Morton telegraphed President Lincoln offering 10,000 volunteers.

The state's initial quota was set at six regiments which consisted of a total of 4,683 men for three months of service. On April 16th, orders were issued to form the state's first regiments and gather at Indianapolis.

On the first day, more than 500 men were encamped in the city; within a week more than 12,000 Indiana men volunteers signed up to fight for the Union.

Indiana ranked second among the states in terms of the percentage of its men of military age who served in the Union Army.

To find out more about Indiana and the Civil War there are many resources out there. For today's feature the following sources was used. Indiana in the American Civil War and Hoosiers Soldiers in the Civil War.

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